Vietnam Sees Spike in Tourism Thanks to Cinema

    In a charming tea shop adjacent to Hanoi’s Temple of Literature, Mallorie Lane savored her cup of tea and perused a guidebook on Hanoi. The enchanting scenery of Vietnam showcased in the film Kong: Skull Island had left a lasting impact on the French tourist. Mallorie diligently crafted a detailed itinerary for her trip to Vietnam, but unfortunately, it was put on hold due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
    However, after being captivated by the mesmerizing beauty of Vietnam’s landscapes in A Tourist’s Guide to Love, which showcased the country’s cultural heritage from Hanoi, Quang Ninh, Hoi An, Nha Trang, all the way to HCM City, Mallorie’s eagerness to explore Vietnam became irresistible. Without further delay, she promptly booked her tickets to embark on her much-anticipated adventure.

    An Overwhelming Impact

    The strategic inclusion of Vietnam’s breathtaking cultural sites in movies has profoundly moved and compelled tourists like Mallorie. The silver screen has emerged as a powerful platform to showcase Vietnam’s boundless beauty to the world and create a newfound momentum for domestic tourism to flourish in the aftermath of the pandemic.

     The Huc Bridge at Sword Lake is an architectural symbol of Hanoi. Photo: VNA

    Movies have proven to be effective in attracting tourists. After the success of Slumdog Millionaire at the Oscars, Dharavi, India experienced a remarkable surge in tourist arrivals. Similarly, the Lord of the Rings trilogy and films centered around the whimsical land of hobbits significantly boosted tourism in New Zealand. Even Bali, Indonesia had to contend with a surge in visitors after the release of Julia Roberts’ movies, Eat, Pray, Love and Ticket to Paradise.

    Over the past two decades, Korea has emerged as a sought-after travel destination for affluent Vietnamese travelers, largely attributable to the romantic allure portrayed in Korean TV dramas.

    According to a recent survey, more than half of all Asian visitors to Korea expressed their fascination with Korean dramas, with Dae Jang Geum being a prominent example that inspired tourists to visit the depicted locations.

    Locations such as Sa Dec City and Huynh Thuy Le Ancient House (Dong Thap), the ferry crossing the Hau River between Vinh Long and Can Tho, Ha Long Bay (Quang Ninh), Hoi An Ancient City (Quang Nam), and Notre Dame Cathedral (Ho Chi Minh City) have etched a lasting impression in the minds of viewers after being featured in movies such as The Lover, Indochine, and The Quiet American.

     Tourists visit Ninh Binh, which used to be the filming location of the movie Kong: Skull Island. Photo: VNA


    Yellow Flowers On Green Grass has substantially contributed to the growth of Phu Yen’s tourism industry, increasing its growth rate from approximately 12-13% to an impressive 30%. Similarly, the romantic landscapes depicted in Mat Biec (Dreamy Eyes) have led to a surge in visitors to Hue.

    These films have instilled in viewers an unyielding desire to explore the depicted locales themselves.

    Awakening a Dormant Beauty

    With a relatively modest budget of US$2 million annually for promotional activities, tourism authorities must allocate their resources judiciously.

    According to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Vietnamese films have been widely broadcasted on major international movie channels, proving to be an effective method of promoting Vietnam and its captivating destinations.

    The domestic tourism industry can capitalize on the appeal of film production by seamlessly integrating it with tourist destinations. This approach would guarantee global exposure for Vietnam through international film projects.

     For Hanoi’s best shrimp cakes, CNN suggests tourists to head to Thanh Nien Street. Photo: CNN

    Ta Quang Dong, the Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, firmly believes that integrating cinema with tourism is a winning strategy, based on both international practices and domestic success stories.

    There is a need for policy reforms in order to attract film crews from domestic and international markets alike. The ultimate objective is to streamline licensing procedures, provide low-interest loans to film studios, establish modern facilities, and implement policies that support locations and accommodations.

    Experts in the field assert that cinema serves as a catalyst for tourism due to its wide-reaching impact. A film has the ability to profoundly influence both the cinema and tourism arenas.

    Ha Van Sieu, the Deputy Director of the Vietnam National Authority of Tourism, acknowledges the positive effect of movies on various destinations. The symbiotic relationship between tourism and cinema has generated new value propositions. Successful films entice tourists to visit filming locations, while the allure of travel also serves to inspire filmmakers.

    Associate Professor, PhD Bui Hoai Son of the National Assembly’s Committee on Culture and Education emphasizes that the economy can experience significant growth by leveraging the cultural contributions of artists.

    Bui Hoai Son underscores the pivotal role of creative talents as the most valuable resource of a nation. Investing in film talent and infrastructure constitutes a key driver for the expansion of the cultural industry.

    Director Luong Dinh Dung posits that films can effectively boost tourism by generating interest in locations through compelling storytelling.

    He suggests closer collaboration between the tourism and film industries, starting from the early stages of the production process, including script development, location scouting, and storyboarding.

    Despite the implementation of numerous policy changes, Vietnamese cinema has not fully harnessed the immense potential of its picturesque filming locations. Many films have not received adequate promotion, resulting in numerous breathtaking scenes and landscapes in Vietnam remaining unknown to the rest of the world.

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